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Layer (s) of Reality

In another instance of an item that could indeed be useful for education, at least self-education, I stumbled across an application called Layar via the excellent Ignatia Webs blog.

Layar is an application for your phone (with an additional iPhone application coming soon) which layers over what you can see with the phone camera. Basically, you can add a layer of anything over top what the phone says assuming it is spatially referenced. Imagine walking down the street, pointing your camera down the street and seeing all the real estate for sale there, or all the Yelp reviews, or even historically referenced information (such and such lived in that house). The creator was mentioning the real estate, Twitter feeds and job opportunities as the first examples, which makes sense.

Think of the opportunities for teachers as the Ignatia Webs blog mentions as well. Taking education out of the classroom and into the physical realm. Language students walking down the streets, pointing their camera at something and identifying the vocabulary word or phrase of what it is. The historical examples mentioned below. Novels like Ulysses (or Dubliners) or Catcher in the Rye (or any Salinger) spatially layered over Dublin or New York City. Take your own literary tour, with additional layers for historical information, quotes from the text and critical significance.

Plenty of opportunities!

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About Author

My name is Michael Sean Gallagher. I am a Lecturer in Digital Education at the Centre for Research in Digital Education at the University of Edinburgh. I am Co-Founder and Director of Panoply Digital, a consultancy dedicated to ICT and mobile for development (M4D); we have worked with USAID, GSMA, UN Habitat, Cambridge University and more on education and development projects. I was a researcher on the Near Futures Teaching project, a project that explores how teaching at The University of Edinburgh unfold over the coming decades, as technology, social trends, patterns of mobility, new methods and new media continue to shift what it means to be at university. Previously, I was the Research Associate on the NERC, ESRC, and AHRC Global Challenges Research Fund sponsored GCRF Research for Emergency Aftershock Forecasting (REAR) project. I was an Assistant Professor at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies (한국외국어대학교) in Seoul, Korea. I have also completed a doctorate at University College London (formerly the independent Institute of Education, University of London) on mobile learning in the humanities in Korea.

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